The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday imposed a cost of ₹100 crore on the Meghalaya government following a report submitted by an independent committee on mining in the State. The tribunal constituted the panel August last.
A Bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, directed the government to deposit the amount with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within two months.
“The report indicates that the April 2014 order has been blatantly violated. The Acid Mine Discharge (AMD) has been continuing and consequently, water bodies, including rivers and lakes, have been polluted to an extent that it [the water] is not suitable for human consumption. The compensation has been levied based on the environmental loss owing to this,” said advocate Raj Panjwani, the amicus to the matter.
The NGT directed that all the cranes present at the sites be seized. It also directed that the 2,700 trucks seized while carrying illegal coal to be released only after 50% value of a new truck is paid.
“The fine has been imposed to act as a deterrent for the State to stop mining activities,” said Mr. Panjwani.
The NGT was hearing multiple pleas pertaining to the threat to life arising out of coal mining.
While constituting the committee headed by a former judge of the Gauhati High Court, the tribunal maintained that the “orders of ban on rat-hole mining will continue, subject to further orders by the Supreme Court.”
The committee was directed to prepare a time-bound action plan pertaining to the restoration of environment and rehabilitation of victims.